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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 30 December, 2017. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill

Fixture details:

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Adam Barton and Conor Sammon

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Gordon Whitelaw

Programme: 

Find out what is inside Saturday’s issue

Available around The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for only £3

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Tomas Cerny
4
Jordan Turnbull
5
Niall Keown
7
Blair Spittal
9
Kris Doolan
11
Steven Lawless
13
Adam Barton
16
Paul McGinn
19
Ryan Edwards
37
Martin Woods (Andrew McCarthy 52)
39
Miles Storey (Conor Sammon 24)
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
15
Daniel Devine
17
Milan Nitriansky
18
Conor Sammon
20
Kevin Nisbet
24
Andrew McCarthy
Ross County
1
Scott Fox
2
Marcus Fraser
3
Jason Naismith
4
Christopher Routis
5
Sean Kelly (David Keillor-Dunn 56)
7
Michael Gardyne (Chris Eagles 74)
8
Tim Chow
10
Alex Schalk
15
Andrew Davies
18
Jamie Lindsay
22
Billy Mckay (Craig Curran 56)
 
Subs
31
Aaron McCarey
9
Ryan Dow
11
Craig Curran
17
Ross Draper
28
Kenny Van Der Weg
33
Chris Eagles
40
Davis Keillor-Dunn
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
15
Daniel Devine
17
Milan Nitriansky
18
Conor Sammon
20
Kevin Nisbet
24
Andrew McCarthy
 
Subs
31
Aaron McCarey
9
Ryan Dow
11
Craig Curran
17
Ross Draper
28
Kenny Van Der Weg
33
Chris Eagles
40
Davis Keillor-Dunn
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 30th December 2017

No matter what way you look at it, Saturday’s clash with County is a massive game for both sides. As well as three points the prize is a guaranteed place off the bottom of the table going into the January break which both managers will no doubt be desperate to achieve. It was business as usual for Jags boss, Alan Archibald, though as he spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of the match at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

Archie said: “It’s a massive game with a massive incentive for both sides. I think both teams will be coming into it with the same approach and the same desire to ensure they aren’t on the bottom of the table going into the break. If you get that victory it gives the whole place a lift and we’ll go into the break in a positive state of mind. Three points will also mean we stay in touching distance of everyone else and will give us the opportunity to start targeting the teams above us in the New Year.”

Like so many others Ross County took the decision to change their manager this season with the former Blackburn, Wigan, Bolton, Burnley and St Johnstone manager, Owen Coyle taking the reins.

“I know Owen well having worked briefly with him at Dundee United and he is a real infectious personality. He’s got a fantastic track record and I’m sure it will come good for him sooner rather than later – I just hope it isn’t Saturday.

“It’s all about us on Saturday though. As Partick Thistle we just need to do everything we can to get it right. Our record at home has actually been pretty strong over the last five games so we will be looking to take that confidence into Ross County and hopefully come away with the three points at the end of it.”

Although last Saturday’s victory over Hamilton Accies took Archibald’s side off the bottom, a solid performance in Aberdeen wasn’t enough to prevent the Jags returning to 12th spot on Wednesday night. Archibald knows how important it is to progress up the league and is determined not to be there heading into the break.

“We’re always aware of the league position but we can only control our own results and it’s in our hands to get off the bottom on Saturday. The priority for us is that we make sure we are still in touching distance come the winter break so that when we get our players back in January we can focus on achieving our goals for the second half of the season.”

With January now only days away it would be unusual if there wasn’t some update on potential transfer business. Archie though insists that, if he can get his injured players back, it will be like getting a handful of new players without needing to enter the transfer market.

“The situation in terms of January signings is still the same really. The feedback at the moment from our medical department is that we are going to have three or four back for the first game of the year and maybe one more shortly thereafter which would mean we might not have to do anything. Having said that we do still have a few targets in mind should we need to do business.”

The extent to which Archibald has to deal in January is dependent on the fitness of his existing squad. Although there is no certainty it would seem there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re hoping to get a couple back but we’ve not really tried them yet. The four extra we had missing on Wednesday didn’t train on Thursday and the five long term ones will obviously still be out and Gary Fraser will definitely be out injured. There is a chance for Erskine, Woods and Doolan though so we’ll just need to see how they train today.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Adam Barton and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in to see them. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

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Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone World members (outside the UK and Ireland) can watch the game live – the stream is also available on a PPV basis.

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Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

94’Full Time Report

Goals from Kris Doolan and Connor Sammon give Thistle a well deserved 2-0 win over Ross County a win that takes Thistle off the bottom of the league as we go into the winter break. 

 
94’Full Time
85’Goal Thistle! Conor Sammon
Thistle 2 - Ross County 0

That should seal things. Sammon holds the ball up for McCarthy who returns the ball to the striker who powers clear of the defence before planting the ball past Fox. 

 
84’

Thistle break forward through Spittal but Fox is able to collect his cross at the front post.

 
82’

Chance for County as Naismith out jumps Lawless and nods the ball into the path of Lindsay whose header flies into the arms of Cerny. 

78’Ross County corner from the right
 
77’

Doolan nearly takes advantage of another slip but this time shoots wide. 

74’Ross County substitution: Chris Eagles replaces Michael Gardyne
 
73’

Gardyne twists and turns near the edge of the Thistle box. He eventually works the ball to Keillor-Dunn who shoots wide. 

 
68’

McCarthy sends through an excellent ball for Sammon. Sammon has just Fox to beat but his shot is saved by the County keeper's legs. 

66’Thistle corner from the right
 
64’

McCarthy and Spittal combine well to get the ball out wide to Lawless but his cross is cleared. 

60’Thistle Booking - Paul McGinn
 
60’

Gardyne goes to ground at the edge of the box looking for a free kick but his pleas are in vain. 

 
59’

Gardyne chips the ball in and Barton this time heads clear. 

 
58’

County have another free kick though. This time in the centre of the pitch. Just too far out for a direct shot at goal perhaps. 

 
58’

Spittal back defending heads clear Gardyne's free kick. 

 
57’

County have a free kick in from the right touchline and in line with the Thistle 6 yard box. 

56’Ross County substitution: Davis Keillor-Dunn replaces Sean Kelly
56’Ross County substitution: Craig Curran replaces Billy Mckay
 
55’

Spittal's corner is a good one but County head clear. 

54’Thistle corner from the right
 
53’

Gardyne sends a shot high over the Thistle crossbar. 

52’Thistle substitution: Andrew McCarthy replaces Martin Woods
 
51’

Sammon does really well to hold off Fraser and at the edge of the box. He turns to give himself a shooting chance but Fox is able to save and push the ball far enough away to prevent Doolan getting the loose ball. 

 
48’

Spittal takes the corner and curls in towards the back post but as the ball comes over the referee spots a push and County have a free kick. 

47’Thistle corner from the left

Spittal and Doolan combine to win Thistle a corner. 

 
45’Kick-Off (2nd half)
43’Thistle Booking -
45’+01’Half Time Report

Thistle lead at the break after Kris Doolan collected Andrew Davies' under hit pass back. Doolan took the ball round Fox and tucked the ball home. 

That aside it has been a poor, uneventful, first 45 minutes. 

 
45’+01’Half-Time
 
45’

Minimum of 1 minutes additional time to be played. 

 
41’

Gardyne's shot hits one of his own players and that allows Cerny to come off his line and gather the loose ball. 

 
40’

Spittal's forceful run has County on the back foot. He manages to get a cross over but it is too strong for Sammon. 

 
37’

That should have been an equaliser. Davies late run into the box goes unchecked and he powerfully meets the corner but heads wide. 

37’Ross County corner from the right
34’Goal Thistle! Kris Doolan
Thistle 1 - Ross County 0

A moment to forget for County's Davies. He is short with a pass back to Fox and Doolan and he nips in, takes the ball round Fox and tucks the ball home. 

 
32’

Sammon is able to hold the ball up and he tries to find Spittal but the ball goes out for a goal kick. 

 
30’

Spittal shoots from just outside the box after collecting a pass from Woods but the ball rolls wide of Fox's left hand post. 

29’Ross County corner from the left
24’Thistle substitution: Conor Sammon replaces Miles Storey
 
24’

t

Thistle look set to make a substitution with Storey receiving a spot of treatment. 

 
23’

A Schalk effort goes well wide of the Thistle goal. It is really poor stuff here at the moment. 

 
20’

Thistle are untroubled in clearing the corner. 

19’Ross County corner from the right
 
14’

Storey has Thistle's first shot at goal but his effort is straight at Fox who makes a fairly comfortable stop. 

 
14’

Sorey's clever flick finds Spittal but his cross aimed for Doolan is cleared. 

 
11’

County have the ball in the net when Kelly crisply shoots home at the back post following a free kick but the flag is quickly up for offside. 

 
10’

Fox gathers a hopeful Spittal cross from underneath his crossbar. 

 
08’

There hasn't been much to warm the fans so far. 

 
02’

Storey is able to get a cross over from the right but his low ball is cleared. 

 
02’

Doolan plays a nice ball down the right touchline looking for Spittal but the ball runs out of play for a County throw. 

 
00’Kick-Off
 
00’Introduction

Thistle round off a busy month and an eventful 2017 with a vital fixture against Ross County with both sides determined to avoid going into the winter break at the foot of the Premiership. 

The Thistle starting eleven shows three changes from the side that started against Aberdeen on Wednesday. 

Into the side come Kris Doolan, who captains the side, Martin Woods and Miles Storey. 

Danny Devine, Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarthy are the three players that drop to the bench. 

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 30th December 2017

It was midweek disappointment for Partick Thistle as a 1-0 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie sent them back to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership after four days in 11th spot. They did, however, have a chance to lift themselves off the foot of the table once again as they faced the team who overtook them on Wednesday night. Ross County came to Maryhill sitting one place above their hosts with the sides being separated by goal difference alone.

Alan Archibald made three changes to the side that narrowly lost out to the Dons during the week. Tomas Cerny remained between the sticks behind a back five of Paul McGinn, Niall Keown, Adam Barton, Jordan Turnbull and Steven Lawless. Daniel Devine dropped to the bench, missing his first game since August. Ryan Edwards and Martin Woods rekindled their connection in the midfield after a good performance together last Saturday. Blair Spittal sat just ahead of Edwards and Woods in behind a front two of Kris Doolan and Miles Storey who both returned to the starting line-up, replacing Andrew McCarthy and Conor Sammon.

The match started as one with little quality as both teams struggled to get the ball down and play. As such, it was a lofted free kick that produced the first big chance of the match on 11 minutes. Michael Gardyne’s delivery from deep was flicked on in the Thistle area. Staggies skipper, Andrew Davies moved for it but couldn’t make meaningful contact, however, the ball fell to Sean Kelly who struck home at the back post. The travelling County players threw their hands into the air in celebration before realising that the linesman’s flag had gone up, denying them the opener.

Thistle first opportunity of the game just three minutes after Kelly’s chalked off effort. A Marcus Fraser slip allowed Miles Storey to claim possession in the final third. He shifted in-field and let fly with his right foot but his low attempt was straight at Scott Fox who held easily.

Following their first opportunity of the game, the Jags were dealt a sizeable blow as the man who created that opportunity was forced off the pitch. Miles Storey picked up a muscle injury in the 24th minute and had to be replaced by Conor Sammon. The Irish striker came on to face a side he has a good record against having notched two goals against the Highlanders last season while at Kilmarnock.

The change could have been a disruptive force for Thistle however it ended up being anything but as they broke the deadlock with ten minutes of the first half left to play. Andrew Davies dilly-dallied on the ball in his own half before trying to pass the ball back to his ‘keeper. The backpass was short though and the ever-alert Kris Doolan was on hand to steal possession. He knocked the ball past County goalkeeper, Scott Fox before hitting home, over the sliding Andrew Davies, as the defender looked to atone for his earlier mistake. The goal represented Doolan’s sixth of the season and the marksman’s 110th in the red and yellow of Partick Thistle.

Despite falling behind, Owen Coyle’s visitors were not disheartened and they should have equalised just two minutes after Thistle’s opener. Michael Gardyne delivered the corner from the Colin Weir Stand side of the park and his cross found the head of Andrew Davies. The County captain had peeled off his marker Adam Barton and found space to head on goal from. He nodded the ball towards Tomas Cerny’s net but missed the target completely from around ten yards.

The game went into the interval at 1-0 with the home side edging things at the midway point. There hadn’t been much to separate the teams that propped up the Ladbrokes Premiership and it was a single moment of madness on Andrew Davies’ part that was the difference between the sides at the break.

Although the away side were the team in desperate need of a goal, it was the hosts that came out fighting for the second half and Thistle could have been two up six minutes into the second period. A long ball forward by Blair Spittal gave Marcus Fraser all sorts of problems and Conor Sammon managed to jostle possession away from Ross County’s number two.  He shifted quickly onto his right foot and rifled a shot low across goal. Scott Fox got down well to save and Kris Doolan was unable to reach the rebound with the veteran Jags striker inches away from a tap-in and a lead-doubling goal.

After that opening, Alan Archibald was forced into a second change of the afternoon. Ex-County man, Martin Woods had to come off and he was replaced by Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate, Andrew McCarthy.

Conor Sammon went close once again on 68 minutes as he was denied for a second time by Scott Fox. Andrew McCarthy won the ball in the middle of the park before playing Sammon through with a ball down the right channel. The Irishman tried to slot the ball low across goal but Fox made a great save with his right leg to deny the Hearts loanee the second goal of his Thistle career.

The hosts were almost made to rue their missed chances when Davis Keillor-Dunn had a sight of goal with less than 20 minutes left of the game. Michael Gardyne tried to create some space in the Thistle half before eventually feeding the ball to Keillor-Dunn. The impressive youngster then fired a shot goalward but his attempt zipped just wide of Tomas Cerny’s right-hand post.

With this crunch match drawing nearer and nearer to a conclusion, the Jags would find a stress-reducing second goal with just four minutes left of the regulation 90. With the away side pushing for an equaliser, Conor Sammon received the ball 15 yards inside the defensive half. He laid the ball off to Andrew McCarthy before spinning away into space. McCarthy recognised this and slid a perfectly weighted pass into Sammon’s path. The striker then galloped forward with pace before cutting inside, past Tim Chow, and curling a low shot beyond Scott Fox, into the far corner. The ex-Derby County forward wheeled off to celebrate his second Thistle goal; one created by Alan Archibald’s two substitutes. The goal sent the Firhill faithful into raptures and lifted some of the pressure and tension that so often plagues the end of Thistle matches.

In the subsequent minutes, the home side professionally saw out the match with the final whistle blowing at 2-0. This victory took the Maryhill men into eleventh spot, three points clear of today’s opponents and to within two of Dundee who also won this afternoon. The win represents a fifth home win in six games from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill and gives the Jags their fourth clean sheet of the season.

A chaotic December month now ends for the Jags as they are faced with a three week break of recovery and preparation. Alan Archibald’s side return to competitive action on the 20th of January when they take on Queen of the South in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Kick-off is 15:00 from Palmerston Park where we’ll hopefully see some familiar faces make a return.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, McGinn, Keown, Barton, Turnbull, Lawless, Woods (McCarthy, 53′), Edwards, Spittal, Doolan (c), Storey (Sammon, 24′).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Nitriansky, Devine, Nisbet.

ROSS COUNTY TEAM: Fox, Naismith, Fraser, Davies (c), Routis, Kelly (Keillor-Dunn, 57′), Chow, Lindsay, Gardyne (Eagles, 75′), Schalk, McKay (Curran, 57′).

UNUSED SUBS (RSC): McCarey, van der Weg, Draper, Dow.

Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 30th December 2017

With Partick Thistle sitting bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership at the start of play this afternoon, a clash with fellow strugglers Ross County represented possibly the most important fixture of the season so far.  The side’s came into the game level on points with the Staggies only ahead on goal difference. With it being the final game of 2017, if either team did end up losing the match, they would have three long weeks to dwell on it during the Winter break.

In the end, it would be the Highlanders sent home in bottom spot as the Jags made it five wins from their last six home games. Kris Doolan capitalised on Andrew Davies’ mistake in the 35th minute before skipping past Scott Fox and slotting home to give Thistle the lead Then the Jags’ two substitutes, Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarthy linked up in the 86th minute with Sammon curling a low shot home after cutting onto his right foot. A massive victory which puts Thistle three points above twelfth and just six off the top six going into a three week break. Jags boss, Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the game.

Alan began by giving us his view of a very successful 90 minutes for his side.

“It’s obviously a terrific result. There wasn’t much in the first half and it takes a mistake for the goal to come but we won’t complain. Getting into half time at 1-0 was a huge boost for us as the first goal is always vital against the teams around you. We’ve done well defensively at home as of late and that continued in the second half. We were very professional and the lads dealt with County’s pressure while still looking a threat on the break.”

As Archie admitted that the opener was a bit of luck from the Thistle perspective, he’s glad Thistle are starting to get these little bits of luck, especially at home.

“The luck has been against us for a lot of the season so far; both on and off the pitch with our injuries. We started with some bad luck with Miles Storey’s muscle problem but we do get the right side of it for the goal. However, we weren’t lucky to win, we defended the lead well and were well worth the three points.”

Thistle’s bench was looking pretty thin coming into the match with injuries continuing to plague the Jags squad, however, there were still two excellent performances coming from the substitutes as Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarthy played key roles in the Thistle win. The gaffer was pleased with the impact of the two players.

“I think Conor was probably a bit disappointed to be dropped after a pretty decent performance at Pittodrie on Wednesday but we wanted to put Miles’ pace up against that County defence. In the end, he comes on within half an hour anyway. Conor is a great professional and he always gives his all so it was great to see it paying off for him. He got us up the pitch and looked a real threat. He took his goal well and he would have had one before that had it not been for a great save.

“Young Andy is beginning to look like a fully-fledged first teamer. We’ve given him a couple of starts against Celtic and Aberdeen and we’re hoping that he’ll now realise that he is an important member of this squad. I think he’s becoming more confident with every appearance and that will only help him going forward.”

Alan then updated us on the personnel situation as we begin the winter break with Thistle next competitive match on the 20th of January in the William Hill Scottish Cup against Queen of the South.

“Our January activities, in terms of transfers, will hinge on how many players we get back from injury. We could be in a position where we don’t have to make any major signings or we could end up looking for three or four players. We’re obviously communicating regularly with Marcin, our physio, to keep tabs on where everyone is on the road to recovery. We’ll have James Penrice back from Livingston for certain which helps us at left back. We also hope to have Callum Booth available for the Scottish Cup game. With those two back it suddenly looks much better in the defence. Mustapha Dumbuya and Abdul Osman have been training in the last week so we’ll be looking to have them back too. The amount of players we’ve had missing so far this season has been ridiculous and I can’t wait to have more of these guys in and around the team. We will still be looking at possible transfer targets, of course, as we can’t take returning players for granted because they won’t be match fit straight away and could pick up subsequent injuries after their returns.”

As Archie mentioned, his squad now have a lengthy break to use before a return to competitive action. The winter break will give his side a chance to recuperate from a hectic December and welcome a few injured players back into the squad. The Jags next game comes in cup competition as they face Queen of the South at Palmerston Park in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Kick-off is 15:00 from Dumfries.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Adam Barton and Kris Doolan. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.

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Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

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